By Emilio Rodriguez
Fredric Aasbo overcame transition troubles in the semi-final round to finish first at Formula Drift’s 10th Long Beach race.
“It’s very surreal and it came together so fast, “ Aasbo said.
Round one of the domestic series, Streets of Long Beach, filled the city with the roars of turbo-charged engines and action-packed driving.
Participants in Formula Drift are judged by how smoothly they get through the course based on line, angle and style.
Line is based on how the driver moves in and out turns to hit both the inner and outer clipping points of the track.
Angle is determined throughout the course, with emphasis on the transitions between turns and initiating drifts. The last judge watches for the overall flow of the run, scoring on style, the initial flick of the drift and how close the car gets to the walls or other cars.
Day one of the event was the opening of the sport’s 12th season in the U.S. Forrest Wang placed first, Matt Coffman placed last and 2013 champion Michael Essa didn’t qualify.
Of the 40 invited, 38 participated in the qualifying round. Drivers had two opportunities to advance into the top-32 tandem round.
Day two started with the qualifiers roaring around the turns before the tandem rounds, where the top-32 battled for the round-one win. After hours of fumes and intense racing, it came down to Aabso and Aurisma Bakchis.
Aasbo was first introduced to drifting during his U.S. debut at a global drifting invitational in 2008. He won rookie of the year two years later. He owns 60 podium finishes in his career, racing in the U.S., Europe and Asia.